Donna's Reviews > A Conspiracy of Kings

A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
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's review
Dec 24, 10

bookshelves: fantasy, teen
Read from December 15 to 23, 2010

This was a big disappointment. Maybe I would have found the plot more compelling if I'd read the previous books, but if they were all written in the same style then I wouldn't have read any beyond the first. The prologue was very interesting - two paupers shoot a pea at the king of Attolia as he passes by during a parade. I wondered whether the pea is poisonous until it's revealed that they are really the king of neighboring country Sounis and his advisor, and their objective was to get the attention of the king, who is their friend. Then we jump back in time to see the events that led the king of Sounis to need to shoot the pea.

The first 6 pages of chapter 1 were excruciating, because they lay out the background and include a lot of names without a lot of detail. Once I got to the attack on page 7 things picked up. Sophos is the son of a baron and nephew to the king of Sounis, and many other barons have rebelled. The king doesn't have a son and Sophos is his heir, so the rebel barons kidnap him. He ends up being hidden on the estate of one of the barons, where he lives and works with slaves and indentured servants and does some growing up. Eventually he escapes, and then makes his way to Attolia for help. Everything up through page 132 was really good.

Unfortunately, the second half of the book was just about as exciting as all the Trade Federation mumbo jumbo from Star Wars: Phantom Menace. There's a lot of negotiations and waiting around, and not much else. The negotiations aren't described in a way that makes them interesting. Sophos, now the king of Sounis, is the only compelling character, yet he remains passive throughout much of the book.

What I really wished to read in the second half was a Spartacus-style rebellion, where the king of Sounis returns home to liberate all the slaves and indentured servants of the barons who have rebelled against the crown. He could have built them into an army that he could use to solidify his status as king without having to surrender to anybody. That would have been satisfying.
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